A marvellous, life-enhancing book for all ages, now a major animated film starring Jim Broadbent, Brenda Blethyn and Luke Treadaway
Utterly original, deeply moving and very funny, Ethel & Ernest tells the story of Raymond Briggs' parents' marriage, lady's maid Ethel and milkman Ernest, from their first chance encounter in 1928, through the birth of their son Raymond in 1934, to their deaths, within months of each other, in 1971.
Told in Brigg`s unique strip-cartoon format, Ethel and Ernest live through the defining moments of the twentieth century: the darkness of the Great Depression, the build up to World War II, the trials of the war years, the euphoria of VE Day and the emergence of a generation from post war austerity to the cultural enlightenment of the 1960s.
Ethel & Ernest is a heartfelt and affectionate tribute to an ordinary couple and an extraordinary generation.
This wonderful book by noted children's author/illustrator Briggs (The Snowman) is something quite new: the story of his parents' quiet lives, played out against the stirring events of the century, done as a comic strip. Ethel was a rather timid ladies' maid, Ernest a dashing milkman, when they first saw each other in 1928. He swept her off in a whirlwind courtship, and they bought the little London row house where they were to live the rest of their days. In pictures exquisitely attuned to the niceties of English domestic architecture and period clothes, Briggs takes Ethel and Ernest fondly through the decades. He is born, a source of great joy, but it's a difficult birth and Ethel is told she can't have any more children. World War II approaches, and little Raymond is sent off to the country as an evacuee. After the war, Ernest, an ardent Socialist, believes that utopia has arrived, while the more cautious and conservative Ethel keeps bringing him back to earth. Then come the wonders of their first car, the advent of television, Raymond's eventual marriage in the swinging '60s and the aging couple's gradual decline into senility, floowed by their deaths within weeks of each other. The dialogue is heartbreakingly accurate, the pictures cinematic in their conveyance of delight and drama; the whole book is not only a deeply moving testament to "ordinary" folk but a precious piece of social history--the essence of a lower-middle-class English life over seven decades. This was deservedly a bestseller in England and warrants no less here.